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Self-driving transport: The shape of things to come Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Twelve local and international organisations have qualified for the finals of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport in the categories of both Industry Leaders and Local Academia.

“This edition of the challenge, which focuses on self-driving buses, features an increase in the number of participants in both categories with 27 submissions received from worldwide candidates. The number reflects a 130 per cent increase in the targeted number of applicants in the Industry Leaders category as well as a 175 per cent rise in applicants in the Local Academia category,” revealed Mattar Al Tayer, Director General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Qualified entities

Al Tayer indicated that based on the decision of the international judges’ panel chaired by Dr. Stephen Shladover, an international expert in driverless transport technology, head of the jury of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, six international companies had qualified for the final stage in the Industry Leaders category: Adastec from the US, King Long from China, Alexander Dennis from the UK, Navya from France, iAuto from Taiwan and Gaussin from France. Six universities have qualified for the finals in the Local Academia category: Khalifa University of Science and Technology, American University of Sharjah, Heriot-Watt University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, University of Dubai and the University of Bolton.

“The Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport aims to expand the use of self-driving transportation across the board. It encourages industry leaders to cope with the current challenges such as the first and last mile challenge facing public transport riders in reaching their final destinations, traffic congestion, and the drop in public transport ridership. Self-driving transport has become a key pillar of RTA’s strategy and we are keen on launching several initiatives to turn the self-driving transportation concept into a reality in Dubai,” said Al Tayer.

“Designating self-driving buses as a theme for the third renewal of the challenge is a catalyst to achieve Dubai’s Smart Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed to transform 25% of mobility journeys in Dubai into smart and driverless journeys by 2030,” added Al Tayer.

High demand

“Since announced, the 3rd Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport witnessed a considerable interest from a variety of international entities that were keen to showcase their projects and initiatives about autonomous means,” said Ahmed Hashim Bahrozyan, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport. He expressed his delight with RTA’s co-hosting this contest with key stakeholders to realise the underlying objectives of the challenge.

“The selection of finalists was based on several parameters such as credibility and vision, the extent of innovation, the relevance of skills and expertise, and commercial elements like the operability and value-added. The selection criteria also included the relevance to the needs of Dubai and the UAE.

“RTA communicated with numerous companies and academia and held four induction workshops for candidates. Following the assessment of submissions and the selection of finalists, RTA would undertake further assessment of shortlisted candidates through practical tests and visual presentations next year. The winners would be announced during the events of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport 2023,” added Bahrozyan.